Surgical-wait online tracker fails to launch
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The Manitoba government has yet to launch a dashboard that tracks surgical and diagnostic procedure backlogs and wait times, despite promising it would be online this month.
The NDP is demanding the government make good on its promise.
“We know this PC government under Premier (Heather) Stefanson (is) getting updates every two weeks from the surgical task force,” Kinew said. “Why aren’t they sharing this information with you, the people of Manitoba who are paying for this work to be done… who are waiting for these surgeries to be delivered?” he asked.
He accused the Tory government of withholding information from Manitobans who continue to wait for health care.
“We should have that fulsome disclosure, that honesty, that transparency,” he said.
In June, the diagnostic and surgical recovery task force said the government would begin to publish its own backlog estimates by late summer.
A Manitoba Health news release last month said that in September, it would provide monthly updates on median wait times, the number of people on wait-lists and the number of completed procedures.
On Tuesday, as September draws to a close, a spokesman for the provincial government could only say the dashboard will launch in the “near future.”
“The diagnostic and surgical recovery task force has a team of experts who have been working all summer to develop the dashboard and are in the final review stages,” the unnamed spokesman said in an email.
“This team has been working closely with provincial data management and with Doctors Manitoba, who have shown public support for the dashboard that is being prepared to launch in the near future to replace the current reporting site.”
Doctors Manitoba had provided monthly estimates of surgeries and procedures missed during the pandemic.
When the advocacy group’s own dashboard was last updated, on June 28, it included numbers from April 2022.
“This team has been working closely with provincial data management and with Doctors Manitoba, who have shown public support for the dashboard that is being prepared to launch in the near future to replace the current reporting site.”–Government spokesperson
It estimated the pandemic backlog for diagnostic procedures and surgeries ranged from more than 102,000 to 128,000, of which 31,000 to 39,000 were backed-up surgeries.
Doctors Manitoba hasn’t updated the dashboard since then “as the province had signalled (its) intention to pick up this important work,” spokesman Keir Johnson said Tuesday.
Earlier this summer, he said, the task force sought feedback from Doctors Manitoba on a preview of its dashboard, indicating it would launch in September.
“We are meeting with the task force again this week for an update,” the Doctors Manitoba spokesman said.
“While it is certainly important to continue measuring and monitoring the size of the backlog on a regular basis, it is also important to build more capacity to catch up and get patients the care they need,” said Johnson. “We are looking forward to seeing progress in this area soon through the various task force initiatives.”
At a news conference in June, the diagnostic and surgical recovery task force chairman, Dr. Peter MacDonald, said the new online dashboard would be routinely updated to include information on surgical and diagnostic wait times.
“This will give Manitobans a broad view of the work that we’re doing, where we’ve made progress and where we still have improvements to make,” MacDonald said at the time.
The delay of the dashboard isn’t the only example of the provincial government failing to meet a commitment related to health procedures.
The plan to open a fifth orthopedic operating room at Concordia Hospital by the end of the year, have been delayed till the spring.
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.